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Monitor Picks

From summer (of love) reading to a Potter party guide, here are five things we think you'll really like.

July 13, 2007



Pink is the new black

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As Dolores Umbridge, a battle-ax swathed in the genteel veneer of pink woolly outfits, Imelda Staunton (c.) upstages a Shakespearean company's worth of British actors in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." She deserves an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Arms for aqua marines

Our cheeky colleagues at Slate.com earn a Pick for their comparative reviews of new water guns – more accurately, water cannons (headline: Top Gun). Reviews include live-target testing and unflinching assessments regarding ease of reloading. Now we can identify the Aquablaster we saw being fired from a kayak last weekend.

Retro rides

Remember those one-minute rides on the mechanical horse (or duck, or smiley-face helicopter)? The pop-culture revivalists at kiddieridesusa.com can hook you up with a restored ride – to rent or own – for home or business.

Potter party guide

Muggles, and their muggley guardians, on the lookout for the best – or nearest – place to fete the release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" need look no further than PotterParties.com. Its international database lets you search for Potter celebrations by ZIP code.

Summer (of Love) reading

We dig Rolling Stone's current issue: a 40th-anniversary offering that snaps readers back to rock's headiest year. Highlights: "I Was There" columns by Graham Nash and John Cale, sidebars on what was happening from London to Los Angeles, refreshers on the 1967 charts, even republished letters from readers (a few of whom sound delightfully like Austin Powers).

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